UPDATED: This year’s Super Bowl will again stream live online for free, and for 2017 Fox Sports will include local ads dynamically inserted based on where a viewer is watching the NFL’s championship contest.
It’s a first for Fox Broadcasting, but not for the Super Bowl: NBC Sports in 2015 did the same thing with local ads inserted into the online stream across the U.S.
More than 170 Fox affiliates across the U.S. have committed to teaming with Fox Sports to sell and deliver local digital ads in the Super Bowl LI stream. Participating affiliates will have access to same ad inventory for both the linear TV broadcast and digital stream of the Feb. 5 game. The national ads will be the same on both TV and online, and the live-stream will include the halftime show featuring Lady Gaga.
Coverage of Super Bowl LI will be available live on Fox Sports Go, the broadcaster’s streaming platform, which is available at FoxSportsGo.com; on iOS, Android, Windows and Amazon tablets; and through connected devices including Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Microsoft Xbox One. For the Super Bowl stream, users will not need to enter their pay-TV credentials for viewing — it will be free to anyone in the U.S. (Verizon Wireless holds exclusive live-streaming rights on smartphones for NFL games through the 2016-17 season, including the Super Bowl.)
“Our pioneering collaboration with our affiliates to allow streaming local ad insertions will make commercials even more relevant for viewers and help make this year’s game even more of a personal experience for every fan,” said Eric Shanks, Fox Sports president, COO and executive producer.
Of course, most Americans watch the Super Bowl on TV. According to CBS, internet live-streaming of last year’s game on CBS and NFL properties averaged 1.4 million viewers who watched the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers — compared with an average television audience of 111.9 million.
Super Bowl LI, taking place on Sunday, Feb. 5, at Houston’s NRG Stadium, will feature the AFC’s Pittsburgh Steelers or New England Patriots against the NFC’s Green Bay Packers or Atlanta Falcons.
Earlier this year, Fox Broadcasting became the first network to launch live streaming of its primetime entertainment programming on a national basis with the relaunch of Fox Now Live in all 210 national markets. Fox Now Live also features digital ad insertion by local affiliates nationwide.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Fox’s Super Bowl LI would be the first time local ads are being inserted into the online live stream of the Super Bowl. In fact, NBC Sports dynamically inserted local ads for its live stream of Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015.